Andrew Miller limited the Arizona Diamondbacks to five hits in seven innings as the Florida Marlins won 4-0 to complete a three-game sweep in a showdown of first-place National League teams on Thursday.
The series was the most impressive yet by the Marlins. The team with MLB’s lowest payroll built its improbable NL East lead with the help of a weak early schedule, but there was nothing fluky about the way they dispatched NL West leader Arizona.
Miller (4-3) had a career-high nine strikeouts, walked one and allowed only one runner to reach second base. Miller had an ERA of 9.12 on May 1, but it’s down to 5.33, and he has won four of his past five decisions.
The Diamondbacks arrived in Miami with the best record in the big leagues, but they totaled only 17 hits in the three games and were outscored 10-3. The shutout was the first against them this season.
The Marlins, last in the majors in fielding, committed no errors in the series and repeatedly came through with clutch hits.
Wes Helms drove in two runs with a pinch-hit double to chase Dan Haren, and Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs. Haren (5-3) allowed eight hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Braves 4, Mets 2
At Atlanta, Chipper Jones’ single drove in the go-ahead run during a three-run seventh inning against Johan Santana, and Atlanta beat New York behind Tim Hudson to complete its first four-game sweep of the Mets in five years.
Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado homered on consecutive pitches from Hudson in the second inning. But Santana (5-3) couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead while giving up a career-high 12 hits and four runs, three earned, in seven innings.
In other games it was:
• Pirates 8, Brewers 4
• Phillies 7, Astros 5
• Padres 8, Reds 2
J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell hit grand slams to help Daisuke Matsuzaka remain unbeaten as the Boston Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 11-8 to sweep their seven-game homestand in the American League on Thursday.
Drew and Lowell were the first Red Sox to hit slams in the same game at Fenway Park since Tony Armas and Bill Buckner on Aug. 7, 1984. The last time Boston had two slams in a game was when the switch-hitting Bill Mueller hit both — one from each side — at Texas on July 29, 2003.
Matsuzaka (8-0) gave up three runs on six hits, walked six, struck out seven and threw two wild pitches while becoming the AL’s first eight-game winner.
Brian Bannister (4-6), who allowed seven runs on 12 hits, couldn’t work his daytime magic against the hot Red Sox.
Rangers 8, Twins 7, 10 innings
At Minneapolis, Josh Hamilton hit a two-out homer in the 10th inning to lift Texas.
Hamilton’s drive into the left-field seats against Brian Bass gave him 12 homers, matching Chicago’s Carlos Quentin for the AL lead. Hamilton went 2-for-4 and moved past Minnesota’s Joe Mauer for the best average in the league, .335. He has 53 RBIs, too, by far the most in the majors.
Joaquin Benoit (3-1) loaded the bases in the eighth and surrendered a two-run single to Justin Morneau that tied the game at 7, but he settled down for a scoreless ninth and the victory.
Tigers 9, Mariners 2
At Detroit, Brandon Inge and Matt Joyce homered, and Detroit scored 30 runs in a sweep of Seattle.
Jeremy Bonderman (3-4) won for the first time in four May starts, allowing two runs and eight hits with two walks in six innings.